On with the show: Swan Hill's show remains a tradition

WHILE Swan Hill will enjoy boasting its agriculture today and tomorrow, there was a reminder some towns in the region will never open their show gates again. 

Last year saw the dissolution of the Wycheproof Agricultural and Pastoral Society and subsequent end to the 125-year-old institution that was the Wycheproof Show. 

The closure at the time was met as a "sad" but "not unexpected loss", as the population of the small Mallee town continued to dwindle. 

While town shows in the region have ceased, Swan Hill's remains. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

While town shows in the region have ceased, Swan Hill's remains. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

This year, the Kerang Show made the decision to drop its program down to one day, after 133 years of running it as a two-day event. 

But, while others are being forced to shut up shop, Swan Hill Agricultural and Pastoral Society president Reg Packer said community support meant the Swan Hill Show continued to thrive. 

"It is sad [to see other shows closing], unfortunately for the smaller towns it is hard to keep going," he said. 

"The bigger regional towns are surviving, but the smaller one's are struggling.

"We are one of those towns where our population is not declining, it is in fact gradually increasing which is good."

Attracting younger volunteers is another problem facing many rural organisations, and while the Swan Hill Show has not been immune, Mr Packer said there remained a few in the community who were willing to put their hand up and help. 

"We would certainly like more younger volunteers," he said. 

To read more of this story, grab a copy of the October 5 edition of The Guardian. 

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